Arts and Culture News

News from the arts world.

As a composer, I entered a profession in which I knew I could actively alter our fractious present using the incomparable tools of art. After all, the intellectually curious and essentially progressive landscapes of our concert halls and opera houses seem like the perfect arenas in which to harness momentum for change and, through the aspirational craft of music, feel the resurrection of hope in the midst of despair and apathy.

When audience members start taking their seats to see Broadway's Indecent, the actors are already sitting at the back of the stage. Eventually, the lights go down and the performers begin a ghostly dance to klezmer music as bits of ash fall out of their overcoats.

In 1966 Bridgewater State Hospital for the Criminally Insane gave filmmaker Frederick Wiseman unprecedented access. Wiseman documented staff at the Massachusetts hospital herding patients, often heavily drugged and naked, through bare rooms and corridors.

The resulting documentary, Titicut Follies, shook up the medium and launched Wiseman's innovative, Oscar-winning career. A ballet adaptation of the film premieres in New York Friday night.

The new Broadway play "Oslo" chronicles the intrigue behind the secret meetings that led in 1993 to the first agreement between Palestinians and Israelis. Hear Theater critic Howard Shapiro's review of this play.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library

Amy Beach was the first woman composer to have a piece performed by a major symphony orchestra. As organizations celebrate the 150th anniversary of her birth this year, A Tempo explores her career and her impact on American music. Host Rachel Katz speaks with Liane Curtis, president and founder of Women's Philharmonic Advocacy.

For only the third time ever, the government released today a national report card examining the knowledge, understanding and abilities of U.S. eighth-graders in visual arts and music.

And in many ways, the numbers aren't great, with little progress shown in most categories since the last time the assessment was given in 2008. One bright spot: The achievement gap between Hispanic students and their white peers has narrowed. But Hispanics and African-Americans still lag far behind white and Asian eighth-graders.

Lillian Hellman's 1939 melodrama The Little Foxes has two great roles for actresses over the age of 40. Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon fill those roles in a new revival on Broadway ... but with one big twist: Linney and Nixon play both roles and switch off at different performances.

Mona Haydar is a Syrian-American artist from Flint, Mich. She wears a hijab with pride. She's been a performance poet for 13 years, writing about love, trauma, loss and joy.

Carlin Ma

Music schools and conservatories are constantly facing new challenges in ensuring their students are prepared to create successful careers in the ever-changing world of music. A Tempo host Rachel Katz checks in with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, whose recent additions and innovations include a Roots, Jazz and American Music program. Rachel will interview SFCM President David Stull and Simon Rowe, executive director of the Roots, Jazz and American Music program.

The Broadway Event of the season is the much-anticipated revival of Hello, Dolly! with Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce. Hear Howard Shapiro's review.

Actor Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton, 24: Legacy) remembers the moment he knew he wanted to be a performer. At 9 years old, the Washington, D.C., native auditioned for a Kennedy Center production of The Brothers of the Knight, a children's musical about a preacher who doesn't approve of his 12 sons' all-night dancing.

What will Bill Murray do next?

The beloved actor's curiosity seems boundless. It should be no surprise, then, to learn that his new project finds him paired with a classical cellist.

It's not just Hamilton.

Musicals have always had a built-in advantage as cultural products. Individual songs can translate and build interest via cast albums or Tony telecasts in a way that's very difficult for plays to emulate. A lot of kids grow up on musicals like Grease and Annie -- and, yes, now Hamilton — while early introductions to plays, however great, might make them seem impenetrable or like homework. (I'm looking at you, William Shakespeare, and doing so lovingly.)

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A 23-year-old, Russian-born violinist named Artem Kolesov is capturing international attention after posting a YouTube video in which he comes out as gay.

Anne Sears

As students at Westminster Choir College rehearse Julia Wolfe's Pulitzer Prize Winning oratorio Anthracite Fields, A Tempo recently looked at how the performance at the Roebling Wireworks brings together the work's exploration of life in Pennsylvania coal mining communities and the industrial history of cities like Trenton.

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Misty Copeland Choreographs Her Own Way

Apr 14, 2017

Prima ballerina Misty Copeland on challenging beauty norms and loving yourself as you are.

Four powerful actors -- Mark Ruffalo, Tony Shalhoub, Jessica Hecht and Danny DeVito -- compose the cast of the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's The Price, and this weekend, theatre critic Howard Shapiro reviews this revival on "In a Broadway Minute." Tune in Friday 8 am and Saturday 10 am.

John Leguizamo isn't new to the screen or the stage. He's best known for his 30-plus-year movie career in which he played a range of roles, from the killer Benny Blanco in Carlito's Way to a sloth named Sid in the animated movie Ice Age. But theater is Leguizamo's first love (rivaled only by his children). Now, at 52, he's wrapping up his sixth one-man show, called Latin History for Morons.

Du Yun, a 39-year-old composer, musician and performance artist, today won the Pulitzer Prize for music for her opera Angel's Bone. The Pulitzer jury describes the piece as a bold work "that integrates vocal and instrumental elements and a wide range of styles into a harrowing allegory for human trafficking in the modern world." Angel's Bone, which has a libretto by the versatile Royce Vavrek (Missy Mazzoli's Breaking the Waves and David T.

It's a curious thing how ancient music can sometimes sound so contemporary. Listen to "Morgunstjarna," and it's as if three centuries' worth of music history evaporates. The anonymous song from 17th-century Iceland sports a catchy, bittersweet melody and rhythmic hook that pop outfits like Peter Bjorn and John might be happy to whistle.

When Prince first signed with Warner Bros. Records, he didn't want to be categorized as a black musician. This was the late 1970s, before music by black artists was widely marketed to multiracial audiences; before kids in every household in America were glued to their screens watching "Thriller" on MTV.

A Tempo (April 8) explores the creation of the American Repertory Ballet's Pride and Prejudice by Artistic Director Douglas Martin. The work will be performed later this month at McCarter Theatre, with the score performed by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra. Host Rachel Katz speaks with Martin about how he chose the music and approached the libretto and choreography to bring Jane Austen's story to the ballet stage.

In the heart of an ever-gentrifying New York City neighborhood, the Nuyorican Poets Café was once called "the most integrated place on the planet" by none other than Beat poet Allen Ginsberg. Today it remains a wildly diverse venue still influenced by its mostly Puerto Rican founders who claimed it as a site of artistry and resistance in 1973.

Poet and founder Miguel Algarín and his artist friends just wanted a place to get together to create. By the 1990s, the Café was the epicenter of Slam Poetry in the country.

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Speaking Up.

About Clint Smith's TED Talk

Clint Smith is a poet and doctoral candidate at Harvard. As a high school English teacher, he taught his students the dangers of staying quiet and the importance of finding their voice.

About Clint Smith

The opera firmament was shaken yesterday when a New York Times article, headlined "The Diva Departs: Renée Fleming's Farewell to Opera," landed online.

Phillipa Soo, who starred in Hamilton as the wife of Alexander Hamilton, is back on Broadway in a new musical called Amelie. Hear theater critic Howard Shapiro's review.

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